For a large part of last week, I thought I was doing pretty well. I wasn't feeling much pain, just a very slight, dull ache that I could ignore easily enough. I felt exhausted, but not in pain. But then I went to the gym, and did a very light work out (although, yay, I discovered that I can still do squats if I adjust my feet a little!)... and that ended my "good" period. I felt energetic and happy but also more tense and in pain. And then I went to work, and was miserable by the end because a fogginess set in.
I can avoid pain if I avoid doing certain things that help make my life worth living. But I can't just be sedentary. Even if it doesn't help long-term with the pain, being unfit isn't going to help my life on the whole. I want to start hiking, I want to dance, I want to be strong.
I can put up with pain, I just may have to be smart about timing. It would be no good to push myself until I'm totally out of commission when I'm supposed to be at work or something, but I can put up with a level of pain. I would rather suffer pain than a loss of vitality and function, or giving up on being able to enjoy movement. The cliche of "no pain, no gain," feels far more accurate than it used to (true pain is not generally a good sign), and if that remains true, I guess I'll be dealing with a good bit of pain.